UK seeks answers from S. Arabia over missing journalist

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he has “just met” the Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to London in a bid to find answers about the disappearance of a journalist a week ago.

In a Twitter message, Hunt said he has “just met the Saudi ambassador to seek urgent answers” over the journalist who was reported missing in Istanbul after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate.

“Violence against journalists worldwide is going up & is a grave threat to freedom of expression,” he added.

He said if the media reports prove correct, the U.K. “will treat the incident seriously – friendships depend on shared values.”

On Monday, the British government said the allegations on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi are "extremely serious."

"We are aware of the latest reports and are working urgently to establish the facts, including with the government of Saudi Arabia," a statement by the government said.

Jamal Khashoggi, journalist and regular columnist for the Washington Post, has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Turkish police investigating the case had said in a statement Saturday that 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and entered the consulate while Khashoggi was inside.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul initiated an investigation on the day of the incident while the consulate also said on Twitter that it was working in coordination with Turkish authorities.

Turkey on Monday conveyed its expectation of "full cooperation" from Saudi Arabia in search of the missing Saudi journalist.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday invited Turkish experts and relevant officials to visit its Istanbul consulate.

According to diplomatic sources, a diplomatic note was sent to the Turkish Foreign Ministry inviting Turkish officials to visit the consulate, where Jamal Khashoggi was last seen entering a week ago.